Hi, I have been cheering for 4 years but I am just starting to learn my back handspring/back tuck right now. Every time I go to do my back handspring, I twist my entire body to the left, like I'm trying to look over my left shoulder. What can I do to correct this? Thanks so much!
Remember the back-handspring is a BLIND entry. That means you will not SEE where you are springing to until AFTER you've landed. Usually, the twist/turn your describing happens when a student is attempting to SEE the floor where her hands are going.
Practice with a spotter & slow down the leg-spring & arm reach for a few dozen handsprings and see if you can REACH for the mat with your hands without looking... instead... FEEL how your body is traveling and moving and let the FEELING guide you to your hands... also, use your peripheral vision to keep your orientation.
The surest way to CORRECT your handspring is to SLOW it down VERY VERY slowly... and MAKE SURE that at slow speeds you are doing EVERYTHING exactly right... Do LOTS of repetitions at SLOW speeds... (you need a spotter to go slowly) THEN... GRADUALLY increase the speed.... with lots of repetitions at each increase
and if you do that right... as you get back up to full-live speed you may still have to CHOOSE whether to do one of the old-messy wrong-but-fast handsprings... or to do your new well-formed handspring...after a few HUNDRED correct ones you'll probably forget the old-bad one.
With matting (an incline mat with a folding mat on top of it is great) you can create a workout environment that lets you experiment some... to learn and play with small variations in your handspring. Think of it as STUDYING your handspring... and explore how different changes in your timing, approach, push, etc. affect the results you are getting.
Have fun, be safe push HARD!
Coach Wayne was the Head Coach for the Savannah College of Art and Design Cheerleading team and Executive Coach of Olympic Gymnast Zuzana Sekerova. His articles, videos, and books have been used by students and instructors worldwide since 1991. Coach Wayne is available for tumbling instructor certification training. For booking information, coaches/owners should text or call 912.238.1747.